Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Called and Healed

By Beth DeCristofaro

Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him since he lives forever to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea. … And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, "You are the Son of God." He warned them sternly not to make him known.   (Mark 3:7, 11-12)

In the written scroll, it is prescribed for me, to do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart! “Here I am, Lord, I come to do your Will.”  (Psalm 40:8-9)

Picking the name of a new baby is a wonderful duty.  Traditions abound:  babies born in Ghana are often named for the day of the week on which he/she is born.  Jewish tradition names after a relative.  The naming is sacred because a name illustrates the baby’s character, how unique she is, and her path in life.  Of course, some babies are named for the celebrity of the day or to avoid duplicating another, oft used, family name.  How many Anthony’s or Alex’s are in our family!

In today’s Gospel, Jesus has tried to withdraw to a quiet place but the crowds who seek to be healed increasingly press in on him.  As he cured, demons shouted in defiance but Jesus silenced them.  Jesus not only did not want his identity proclaimed by evil but also, he was sternly proving that shouting his true name – thought to be a way to exert power over someone – had no sway over him.  The insistent crowds wanted healing which he provided but he deeply wanted them to hear and accept his Word within their hearts.  He sought conversion.

How potent, then, that we are each called by name by our own God!  This Lord of abundant life calls us to him not to exert power but to welcome us to himself.  He lives forever and wants the power of the Word to live through us in the Word.  He calls us to Good though His use of our name. 

My daughters are queen and princess, Regina and Sarah, ancient names which resonate with us as sons and daughters of Abraham.  Today in our country, each day we meet people with strange sounding names who also belong to ancient traditions as deep as ours.  God calls them by name as well.  Can you hear his healing voice speaking in love to you through the voice of a stranger today?

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